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Category: the odes

10/11/11 03:32 - ID#55277

Chris Rock!

I said Hi to Chris Rock early yesterday morning in the Highline Park. I was so surprised that I didn't really say anything much. I just said


like a stupid teenager.

After all the musings about what I would say if I ever ran across a hollywood star I really like, I just managed an extended single syllable.

He did say hello back, but what a ridiculously generic thing to say!

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Permalink: Chris_Rock_.html
Words: 72
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/11/11 03:32

Category: opinion

10/07/11 09:16 - ID#55259

Why I don't like Amazon anymore.

I got an email from (e:enknot) today morning. He is getting Amazon prime membership. He wants 5 more folks to join so that costs could be lower for everyone for the same kind of benefits. Sounds pretty good, but I am unfortunately passing on this very generous offer.

I had Amazon Prime for the whole of last year. It made me buy all sorts of irrational things, really. There was an element of thrill in getting something delivered in 2 days flat.

Then the wok drama happened (e:tinypliny,54693) I know this is probably going to sound petty. But the wok was in my shopping cart and I was definitely going to buy it that day. The price suddenly spiked up more than 2x the original cost just as I was taking the preliminary steps to go through the checkout process (And no, I don't have the one click magic phrase because I think it's such nonsense)!

I sent a nasty letter of complaint to Amazon and heard back from the customer service team. According to them the prices on Amazon are fair market prices (or something to that effect) and it's not under their control. I was annoyed and deleted the wok from the shopping cart. Needless to say the wok magically sprang back to its original lower price when I did.

If this had happened once or even twice I would have overlooked it but this kind of price jumping has happened quite a few times for me in the past. They definitely monitor the shopping carts of people in general (because I receive target email that explicitly says that it is for things related to the ones in my shopping cart). I think that when a critical mass of people have some item in their shopping cart, they try and increase profits with some atrocious price change. Of course, this is only a theory and a bitter one at that. I have no evidence but that is what the whole thing feels like to me.

I think most people research to at least some level before they buy things (unless it's a hasty impulse buy). ALL of my "big" purchase (above $80 for me) are well considered. Unless it's for necessary travel or something related to my immediate family I don't make impulse buys, on principle. I am morbidly scared of the "accumulation tax" that follows me around if I accumulate ridiculous junk with little purpose. So I know exactly what I am going to be spending on anything ages before I actually buy it. If I am not careful and just spend willy-nilly (I have in the past), the consequences are sometimes quite embarrassing (for e.g., rent cheque bouncing or some such stupid financial faux pas).

Given this level of thought that goes into what I buy, I appreciate it if the prices are stable. If Amazon or any other merchant thinks they should charge something for an item, they should just go ahead and tag it with that price instead of changing prices all the time. Unfavourable price changes makes customers who research annoyed and gives them an unsettling sense of not buying well. Favourable price changes makes them feel like they got a bargain - a kind of shifty emotional maneuvering to make them buy more impulsively. I know Amazon is not the only one that engages in all the price jumping but I just wanted to blow off some steam about the wok incident. ;-)

I ended up buying the wok from Overstock and not renewing my membership with Amazon. Thus far, I have bought 2 other beautiful fry pans and a sewing machine from Overstock. Each time the customer service has been exemplary and flawless. Sure, the deliveries take longer than 2 days but seriously, my kitchen is not going to implode if a frying pan (or really anything) that I have wanted for 3 or more months takes a few more days to arrive.

I have a massive paleolithic joke of an internet speed to even consider video on demand. Plus I don't like watching anything passively for more than 15 minutes anyway. I have some kind of an attention deficit when it comes to television. It's too impersonal and I am too guilt-ridden.
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Permalink: Why_I_don_t_like_Amazon_anymore_.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/07/11 09:28

Category: eating in

10/06/11 08:36 - ID#55245

Moroccan Cuisine

I read this article with interest:

To me, it represents a global dilemma. Would you rather live in the past and insist that change is disturbing because you don't quite understand it (or want to take the pains to understand it) or would you just accept that the future is here and evolve with it?

The way I have phrased it above makes it sound as if the right answer is choosing the future and evolving. That is because I want to choose that answer. I want everyone to choose that answer. But sometimes, there is no right answer to a question like this. The article about Moroccan cuisine cookbooks illustrates this point so well.

On an aside, I really want to make this bread someday:

Maybe I can this weekend.
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Permalink: Moroccan_Cuisine.html
Words: 141
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/06/11 08:43

Category: goals

10/03/11 07:57 - ID#55236

Clueless about regex

What I want to do is match strings with regular expressions.

^ : start of string
[ : beginning of character group
a-z : any lowercase letter
A-Z : any uppercase letter
0-9 : any digit
_ : underscore
] : end of character group
* : zero or more of the given characters
$ : end of string

Now I can't even write code for matching a variable length sentence or phrase in curly brackets for example:

{A quick brown FOX jumps over a sprightly hare}

Hmm... this does not work

This doesn't work

This doesn't work either.

It's funny how it's called regular.


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Permalink: Clueless_about_regex.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/03/11 08:26

Category: goals

10/03/11 02:06 - ID#55233


80% of my inbox.

And still not done.
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Permalink: Fuddled_.html
Words: 9
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/03/11 02:06

Category: whine

10/01/11 03:53 - ID#55222

NyQuil drama

The cold, fever and chills got out of hand so I had to go out in the rain to Walgreens at around 1:00 AM yesterday night. It was like one of those descriptions in the Wuthering Heights of wild rainy miserable nights but without any of the fun.

The Walgreens on North has undergone some kind of ludicrous rearrangement of shelves. It took me a whole 5 minutes to realize that everything had been shuffled around. The cold and flu medications are not with the other medications on the far wall anymore. I finally found them in the next aisle. It made no logical sense. I am convinced the whole point of the rearrangement was to make sick people suffer even more in their misery.

And that was not all. The walgreens brand was nowhere to be seen. The shop is aggressively promoting some new hippie form of the Nyquil concoction called Nature Fusion I looked at the ingredient list:

Doxylamine Succinate
Citric Acid
High fructose corn syrup
Polyethylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol
Purified Water
Sodium Citrate

Basically what I had been eating along with "flavor" (surely a taunting joke on people with colds), two different glycols, high fructose corn syrup AND Honey. I got it anyway.

And Walgreens was out of Biscoff Speculoos. How unbelievably unkind is that??

When I came home I couldn't open the stupid Nyquil bottle. I tried so hard for nearly 1/2 hour. It was the hardest bottle to open. You need to press down the lid while twisting it anti-clockwise. You can tell it's not going to open because it makes this annoying rachet-like noise. At that point I was almost livid with rage. I took a knife and ran it all round underneath the rim of the hideous cap and tore it off. It probably won't close well again, but who cares at this point?

I think I must have gone past 104 degree F with all that anger. When I was brushing my teeth later, my eyes looked completely bloodshot. They are still kind of murky now. I can only guess that I must have split many minor vessels in my conjunctiva. When I finally got at the syrup, it was extremely sweet. Sweeter than any other cough syrup I have ever had my entire life. This is what happens when people think that honey is not enough and go ahead and lay on the high fructose corn syrup.

So the point of this post is that NyQuil's new bottles are so hard to open that you need a knife. At 3:00 AM, anger got the better of me and I composed a nasty letter to Vicks, but in my hurry, I didn't save it and it got deleted. I have no idea now what I wrote in it. All I can remember that it was a page long before the Nyquil knocked me out. Now it seems silly and trivial but I was so unbelievably wretched and murderous last night. Illness does strange things to people, especially to me.

Update: 26th February, 2012

I received this message from a guest:

21372 02/26/2012 @ 21:08 guest @ says:
Nature Fusion Drama
I loved the previous NyQuil drama. Walmart must have pulled all of the regular stuff off the shelves so you were guided to purchase the new (green) version of cough syrup. Got it home to my ailing husband and heard him cussing and grunting and whining about getting the damn thing open. Thinking he was inept and just felt to crappy to get it open. I asked to try.....needless to say I wore my hand out and tried using the can opener notches on my kitchen shears and only managed to strip all of the outer lid threads. So I went to the web to see if anyone else was so inclined to cut the top off. Oh boy! There is a ton of folks that would like watch the makers of Vick's products open their own designs. After reading NyQuil Drama and other similar complaints, my husband used a knife to break the child protection and was able to finally take the dosage.

So it's not just me!!!!! Vicks should be ashamed of its design team. Making sick people suffer even more in their misery! I am glad I was able to spread the hatred around. ;-)
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Permalink: NyQuil_drama.html
Words: 732
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 02/26/12 09:59

Category: whine

09/30/11 06:42 - ID#55220

Worst Cold Ever.

I have a temperature of 103 Degree F and a pulserate of 97/minute . I am shaking with chills even though I am wearing a sweater and woollen stockings AND drinking a hot cup of tea. My nose and throat are burning as if someone has put in hot embers into them. To add to the irritation my nose is also dripping like a broken faucet. It's not pretty at all. I tried to lie down to sleep but my head hurts with dull pains in a supine position. I am also very dizzy when I get up from a sitting position even though I am fairly certain I am well-hydrated. I can feel that my chest is congested with some really thick mucus. Not much is coming out, which is worrying me. Whatever little comes out once every 2 hours or so is a greyish yellow in colour and very thick.

So here I am typing my detailed symptoms into the new wide (e:strip) text area that I like very much!

Seriously, this is the worst cold at the worst possible time. My work is suffering because I am making a ton of mistakes and I can't go to see my brother.

My flat is littered with lozenge drop wrappers and soup bowls. I can't wait for this cold to go away but it seems like it never will. I am on
  • ibuprofen 400 mg X 4-6 hourly for the pain,
  • Co-trimoxazole BD (12 hourly) for the secondary infection and
  • Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) for the fever.
  • Guaiphenesin (oral) 1 tbsp X 2 hourly - expectorant
  • Dextromethorphan 1 tbsp X 2 hourly - anti-tussive

AND none of it is working in expected ways!!!!

WHHHHHHYYYYYY do I have to be sick now?? I have so much to do and can't do anything effectively. I hate being sick.

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Permalink: Worst_Cold_Ever_.html
Words: 297
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/01/11 06:00

Category: i-tech

09/29/11 02:45 - ID#55216

Chrome = Desktop

I sometimes wish my desktop was the Chrome browser. What's the point of even having an empty space staring at me. I just want all that space to BE the browser. My nexus one has a small search bar embedded in the desktop. What I want is for the entire browsing to be the desktop.

I am sure there is something like this out there, something that implements this in Debian or maybe Red Hat. I just don't know how to search for it yet.

Update: Found it.

Someone obviously feels like I do.

The real question, however is, is that someone as technically challenged as I am? Can I even get to step 1?!

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Permalink: Chrome_Desktop.html
Words: 122
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 09/29/11 03:09

Category: goals

09/29/11 11:06 - ID#55215

I started an online notebook

I think different people have different methods of retaining what they learn. I asked Paul how he keeps notes on the code he writes and he told me he memorizes it and writes notes INTO the pieces of code, probably as comments.

That's good coding practice. But it doesn't help me when I have forgotten where I have used a particular structure or syntax. Since I am not building websites, but rather analyzing data, there is no predictable flow to the code.

Data processing tricks in my repertory need to change with every new data manipulation I want to do and I can't remember what tools I used for each single variable very well. I have found that I learn the most when I take the time to consciously analyse if my mind has absorbed the concepts by writing it down.

I considered using (e:strip) as my code notebook because I wanted to keep everything together. But it does not handle code well. Back and forward slashes produce wonky results. Characters don't escape well even with the code box. The code box itself is a fixed size. I always work in big wide screens and don't see it changing so I also wanted my notebook to have a very generous text area and very little of anything else.

All of these criteria are met by:

I still wish I could do that on (e:strip) though. As my life gets to be more about how to successfully survive in academia, I can distinctly see how that blog will get more entries per week than this one in the near and distant future if I stay on course. But of course, I don't see how I can I wax eloquent over trivia, veggies, food and the side effects of medication in between R, LaTeX and Perl, so maybe that blog does need to be separate.
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Permalink: I_started_an_online_notebook.html
Words: 319
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 09/29/11 11:18

Category: whine

09/29/11 10:12 - ID#55213

Not in Control

I woke up today with the most excruciatingly severe throat pain. I had a couple bowls of that squash soup and 400 mg of ibuprofen.

Now the ground is spinning as I type this and my peripheral vision has an extraordinary sense of movement.

I hope to goodness this won't be a repeat of the benedryl drama. I know I am not the biggest of people but common doses of medicine have the weirdest effect on me. The kid dose of 9-10mg/kg comes to around 42 X 10 = 420 mg. I am 20 mg under the kid dose.

And I have dizziness. It is so ludicrous that on the very rare occasions I HAVE to take medicines, ALL the frustrating side effects come on to haunt me in full force. I mean who gets dizzy with ibuprofen, one of the most common NSAIDs?? ME. Arrrgh.
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Permalink: Not_in_Control.html
Words: 142
Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/01/11 06:01



New Site Wide Comments

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...